NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A man accused of killing a Newport News police officer during a traffic stop in January 2020 is suing the Newport News Police Department and Chief Steve Drew.
The civil complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Jan. 20, alleges the officer used excessive force on Vernon Green II and was not properly trained during a traffic stop on Jan. 23, 2020.
Green is facing a felony homicide charge in Newport News Circuit Court in the death of 24-year-old Officer Katie Thyne. Green is accused of fatally injuring Thyne after his vehicle dragged her for about a block and crashed into a tree.
The handwritten complaint filed by Green, who is currently in federal custody at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, seeks $1 million in damages.
Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew declined to provide a statement on the ongoing litigation on Wednesday.
The complaint claims Thyne used excessive force against Vernon Green by choking him when Green posed no imminent or immediate threat to her or the community. It also states Drew, the police chief, is largely responsible for the lack of proper training of Thyne and her failure to employ instructed guidelines that make up the department policy on use of force in nonviolent arrest/custody procedure, and failure of the officers’ need to protect and serve in violation of the Green’s constitutional rights.
Police said the traffic stop involving Green happened around 6:45 p.m. Jan. 23, 2020 after a report of drug activity in the area near Monitor-Merrimac Overlook Park. Thyne and another officer responded.
In the complaint, Green said the other officer handcuffed his female passenger after asking her to step out of the car.
Both officers then asked Green to step out of the vehicle because he was being detained for a “narcotics investigation,” the complaint reads. When Green asked for further explanation and then refused to get out of the car, the officers attempted to remove him by force, he said.
At that time, Green’s complaint claims he put the car in gear and drove forward. He said Thyne “jumped inside the open car door” and grabbed Green around the neck as his car drove off.
The car then crashed into a tree on the driver’s side. Green ran from the scene.
Thyne later died from her injuries. Green was also taken to a hospital with injuries to the left side of his body including his ribs, knees, legs and face after his arrest.
Green was sentenced back in April on federal drug and gun charges related to the deadly traffic stop. He was sentenced to 10 years for illegal gun possession and two years for the felony drug possession charge.
Green is scheduled for a three-day jury trial in Newport News Circuit Court starting Nov. 15 on charges of felony homicide and failure to render aid after a hit-and-run.